What often makes fine art stand out is the courage to make an idea real. That devotion is on display in the galleries at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside. Take the group show upstairs presented by Associated Artists of Pittsburgh for instance. It's called "30:2" because two curators selected works by 30 artists from among the organization's 400 members.
Viewers are welcomed to the exhibit by a curious portrait of a boy with his face blotted out. Called "Pageant" by Travis K. Schwab, it has the classic look of oil on canvas while emphasizing myriad narratives. Mr. Schwab "dared" to try oils a few years ago despite a lack of formal training, he says, and he began exhibiting his work in 2012.
The "Three Ladies" in Paula Garrick Klein's painting are dairy cows. She's been working on a series of paintings inspired by the last small working farm near her. "Through each season," Ms. Klein says, "I observe and paint these animals as newborns, as they grow and as mothers with calves of their own."
Meghan Olson's monochromatic "Thirteen Ways" features a large sheet of white paper, warped and creased by water that has long since dried. With the recent floods in this region, it reminds viewers of the power of water even in its absence.
This thought-provoking show offers examples of cubist painting, abstract expressionism, sculptures made from found objects, installations and more. Viewed together it is a great sampling of fine art from Western Pennsylvania today.
On the way out, check out Karen Kaighin's two photographs, "Books" and "Pages." The deceptively simple images close the experience of touring the gallery by pulling the eye to the worn cloth-bound corner of a book. The blue weave of the cloth is still snug to the cardboard cover, peeking through a hole worn by time.
Curated by Adam Welch and Stacey Weiss, these are just some of the artists represented in "30:2," which runs through Aug. 18. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for students; free for children under 12 and members. For more information: www.pittsburgharts.org.